Created by Regina Y. Hicks and Wanda Sykes, who also stars in the show, The Upshaws is a sitcom that focuses on a working-class family who are trying to navigate the ups and downs of life. It has quite a large cast including Kim Fields as Regina the mother, Mike Epps as Bennie, her dipstick husband and Wanda Sykes as Lucretia her sister. Life is not easy for the Upshaws, largely due to the very complicated family structure which isn't initially made clear in the show. However, as the episodes roll on you can figure it all out.
It goes like this: Regina and Bennie got pregnant in high school resulting in their eldest child Bennie Jr. Then they split leaving Regina to carry on as a single parent. Years later they got back together, got married and had Aaliyah. However, at the time Bennie was cheating and had a second child born on the exact same day – Kelvin. As Regina didn't know, the relationship continued and they had Maya. Fast forward in time and Regina is an assistant administrator at a hospital, Bennie has a garage and nothing but chaos reigns in the house as they try to work on all of the family relationships.
The first episode left me a little cold. I really didn't think it was that funny at all. However, as it progresses across 10 episodes it does actually have some comedy gold. The banter between Wanda Sykes and Mike Epps is bang on for two characters who hate each other. The quips and putdowns are hilarious but without that friction, I'm not sure if it would have been as good. Kim Fields does well as a woman on the edge. Tired of her husband's idiocy, she wants more out of life. But balancing him, her sister, four children, a boss she hates and Bennie's lovechild is all proving a bit much. It brings the realness to the show.
Once The Upshaws gets into its groove it really does work as a solid sitcom. If there is a criticism it would be that it leans towards some old 90s sitcom tropes and there is more bad language than you would expect from a 12 rating. Definitely more for the grownups.